20 Best Restaurants in London for Al Fresco Dining

As outdoor dining remains a popular choice, here are London's best al fresco restaurants.

Like those videos of cows jumping with glee as they're released into the field after a long winter indoors, Londoners are chomping at the bit to splash their hard earned cash in restaurants once more. Eating outdoors is the new eating out: From Monday 12 April onwards, dining-out dreams become reality, as groups of six can meet and eat. Think heated terraces, cosy courtyards and covered pergolas.

NORTH

restaurant

The Farrier

Camden Market

A fancy new pub is coming to North London on 15 April, and naturally a banging terrace was high on their list of priorities. The outdoor heated terrace and hidden courtyard get top marks for their cosy fire pit, and the entire food and drink menu will be orientated towards their al fresco surroundings for the launch. Although the kitchen is headed up by a chef with Michelin star credentials (Ash Finch has worked under Marcus Waring and Alain Ducasse), there's nothing stuffy about the pub: fish and chips with mushy peas is still firmly on the menu.

Address

87 North Yard, Camden Market, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AH

restaurant

Towpath Café

De Beauvoir

Everyone's favourite neighbourhood haunt, this canal-side spot has been al fresco since way before it was fashionable. Headed up by Lori Di Mori, a daily changing blackboard offers scrumptious toasties, salads and fresh bakes. Tiny chairs and tables are crammed along the hilariously nicknamed "Haggerston Riviera", where you'll jostle for space with bearded hipsters and designer whippets. Good luck finding a table, especially at weekends.

Address

42 De Beauvoir Cres, De Beauvoir Town, London N1 5SB

restaurant

Rochelle Canteen

Shoreditch

After months of telling people to check the weather forecast before they come for lunch, Rochelle Canteen will be re-opening their outdoor terrace with a welcomed tented cover from 12 April. Decorated with seasonal flowers, enjoy simple and perfectly executed dishes from Margot Henderson and her merry team of chefs. If their pre-pandemic April menu is anything to go by, we can expect things like brown shrimp, white cabbage and chervil, asparagus and butter, and a rhubarb fool to die for.

Address

Rochelle Canteen, 16 Playground Gardens, London, E2 7FA

EAST

restaurant

Brat at Climpson’s Arch

Shoreditch

Michelin-starred Brat restaurant will reopen its popular dining terrace at Climpson's Arch in East London. The daily menu will continue to showcase native seasonal produce sourced from some of the best producers in the UK such as Dan Cox's Crocadon Farm in Cornwall and Calixta Killander's Flourish Farm in Cambridge. Along with Brat favourites, diners can expect new dishes of roasted game rice, fried pork chops with anchovy and hay butter and tomatoes with aged mutton and grilled cep mushrooms. Guests will also be able to tuck into preserved summer produce of pickled peppers, aubergine escabeche and fermented golden beetroots.

Address

4 Redchurch St, Shoreditch, London E1 6JL, United Kingdom

restaurant

Smoking Goat

Shoreditch

Smoking Goat have 50 seats in their covered, heated outdoor space in the Tea Building on the corner of Redchurch Street and Shoreditch High Street. Head chef Ben Curtis and his team are buzzing to welcome patrons back to devour their fiery Thai cooking once more. Inspired by Bangkok's late-night cuisine, the kitchen centres on underrated, native seafood from Cornish waters, serving up a mixture of skewers and spicy seafood from the open barbecues, as well as signature clay-pot noodles.

Address

64 Shoreditch High St, Shoreditch, London E1 6JJ, United Kingdom

restaurant

Pophams

Hackney

The cult bakery turned Italian-esque pasta restaurant in Hackney's London Fields are reopening on 13th April, with a large tent which they installed back in November. There'll be heaters and hot water bottles, and a menu of handmade pasta for lunch and dinner. At their original Islington bakery on prebend street they've got outdoor seating too. Frankly, we'd sit in the pouring rain just to be able to eat one of their rhubarb and cardamom custard pastries again.

Address

Pophams Hackney 197 Richmond Road, London, E8 3NJ

restaurant

Barge East

Hackney Wick

Three summers ago, a group of friends somewhat inexplicably sailed a traditional Dutch Barge from Holland to Hackney Wick and converted her into a floating restaurant and bar. The riverside views across Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and seasonal British menu quickly caught on, and the barge became something of a destination. They've now sprawled into a giant beer garden which seats 300, one of the largest outdoor dining areas in East London. There's also an outdoor Street Kitchen - think buttermilk chicken, scotch eggs and chickpea panisses - and bookable greenhouse booths for groups of six. What's not to love?

Address

Barge East, Whitepost Lane, Hackney Wick, London, E95EN

SOUTH

restaurant

Bermondsey Larder

Bermondsey

A brand-new opening by Robin and Sarah Gill (of The Dairy in Clapham fame) - a modern neighbourhood restaurant Bermondsey Larder will be reopening on the 14 April with an al fresco dining spot. The restaurant only got a couple of weeks in before lockdown when it opened in September, so we're looking forward to seeing its full potential. Highlights on the terrace will include farmer Tom Jones' lamb with Jerusalem artichoke, pulled aubergine and mushroom flatbreads and a gorgeous split mackerel and sea-salad dish, perfect for sharing.

Address

Bermond Locke, 153-157 Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 3LW

restaurant

Tamra

Northcote Road

A brother-and-sister owned café in the heart of nappy valley, this place turns out a really solid all-day brunch menu. Those living in Clapham will have enjoyed the Mediterranean feel of the high street being pedestrianised last summer, which lives on a little in Café Tamra's street-side seating area. In addition to their usual menu, they're now serving toasties, sarnies and French toast with bananas and Canadian Maple Syrup. It's walk-in only, but worth the wait.

Address

63 Northcote Rd, London SW11 1NP, United Kingdom

bar

Bar Douro

London Bridge

A little slice of Portugal near Borough Market, Bar Douro's restaurant and wine bar will open their large outdoor terrace on 13 April. There are well-spaced port barrels to perch on for a drink and snack (grilled octopus is a must), or rustic tables for more of a sit-down dinner - both of which are covered and heated. Don't leave without a box of pasteis de natas.

Address

Arch 35B, 85B Southwark Bridge Rd, London SE1 0NQ

WEST

restaurant

The Orrery

Marylebone

The Orrery in Marylebone Village holds one of London's best-kept secret rooftop terraces, serving elegant and traditional French food in the heart of W1. Physically (and metaphorically) elevated from the traffic and crowds of Marylebone, it's a flower-lined sanctuary that's kept its culinary standards high. Come for a cocktail, stay all afternoon.

Address

55 Marylebone High St, Marylebone, London W1U 5RB

restaurant

Abasto

Connaught Village

Forget people watching, Abasto's terrace is a great spot for poodle-watching as all of West London heads towards Hyde Park for their weekend strolls. Even better, dog appreciation can be done over handmade empanadas at their mosaic streetside tables, or with sweet alfajores with a cup of coffee in hand. The Argentinian cafe and boutique deli shop is set in the heart of Connaught Village, a picturesque hub of quirky boutiques, galleries and 19th-century architecture.

Address

55-57 Connaught St, St George's Fields, London W2 2BB

restaurant

Dinings SW3

Chelsea

Masaki Sugisaki's Japanese restaurant in Chelsea will be welcoming diners to its idyllic 20-cover terrace from mid-April. Open daily from 12.30pm to 5.30pm the full Dinings SW3 menu - dishes which bring together traditional Japanese techniques with European culinary influences - will be available al fresco. Highlight includes Masaki's celebrated sushi and sashimi creations alongside Dinings SW3 favourites to include the seabass carpaccio, sumi-yaki fruits de mer (from the charcoal grill) and Cornish lobster sliders.

Address

Lennox Gardens Mews, Chelsea, London SW3 2JH, United Kingdom

restaurant

Petersham Nurseries

Richmond

Possibly the world's most aspirational garden centre, Petersham Nurseries' original Richmond flagship is an aesthetic pilgrimage for all levels of green thumbs. Their indoor-outdoor café will be re-opening throughout the week with evening service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It's set in a delightful courtyard, where you can dine al fresco beneath a heated pergola draped with jasmine and bougainvillea. After sunset, candles are lit and diners can enjoy a provenance-led spring menu under the stars.

Address

Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, TW10 7AB

restaurant

Paradise Soho

Soho

Describing itself as "ingredient focused cooking with a fiery island accent", Paradise's new outdoor terrace is Inspired by the roadside eateries in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo. The terrace space will seat 30, with a special menu of street food "short eats". There'll be beetroot & banana blossom cutlet croquettes, crab patty empanadas with lunumiris mayo; mutton-shoulder rolls with fermented chilli and northern spiced-pork-belly skewers with kithul molasses - all costing between £2 to £5. The drinks menu includes a selection of natural, biodynamic wines and Sri Lankan inspired cocktails including a chilli-mezcal margarita; ginger-arrack sour and coconut-washed negroni.

Address

61 Rupert St, Soho, London W1D 7PW, United Kingdom

restaurant

Gladwin Brothers Oyster & Vermouth Terrace

Soho

Sussex is Gladwin's Brother's newest Soho restaurant venture, and has transformed into an outdoor oyster bar to fit into the new COVID regs. In partnership with Noilly Prat vermouth, the oyster bar outside Sussex will be serving fresh Maldon oysters, shucked to order, at a very acceptable price of £25 a dozen. The ritual is to pour chilled Noilly Prat Original Dry over the oyster, which is then either sipped from the shell or devoured in one. For those of a less slippery persuasion, a selection of small plates available such as Asparagus dippers with hollandaise and Trout Gravlax will also be available.

Address

63-64 Frith Street, Soho, London W1D 3JW

restaurant

Circolo Popolare

Fitzrovia

All singing, all dancing Circolo Popolare seems about as far away as can be from our quiet Friday nights in front of the telly. The utterly mad and fabulous Sicilian trattoria in Fitzrovia is famous for its wobbly XXL lemon meringue pies and gigantic bowls of tagliatelle served from a wheel of Parmesan. Their terrace menu has brand-new dishes such as a carbonara pizza, alongside classic Big Mamma desserts and Sicilian fritto-misto platters. Booking lines are open, so get on it.

Address

40-41 Rathbone Pl, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1HX

restaurant

Club Mexicana

London, United Kingdom

Kingly Court might just be central London's perfect al fresco dining spot. And above all, we're homing in on Club Mexicana, a vegan taqueria inspired by Los Angeles and Mexico City. The concept started as a pop-up, and is proof (if you still need it) that vegans don't have to miss out on the good stuff. There are cult favourites like a sizzling vegan al pastor spit, Cheezeburger tacos loaded up with red-pepper queso, dill pickle and annatto mayo and jackfruit short-rib burritos, washed down with on tap palomas.

Address

Kingly Court, London W1B 5PW

restaurant

Bisushima

Located on the sixth floor of the newly refurbished Page8 Hotel, this spacious (six thousand square foot to be precise) Japanese restaurant is set to be London’s hottest rooftop hangout. Designed with nature and wellness in mind, two external roof terraces and a separate bar area overlook Trafalgar Square. Unobstructed city views are a big draw but the best part? The authentic Japanese food. Order frivolously; we’d strongly recommend a taste of the Toro carpaccio, platefuls of freshly rolled nigiri and a side of Roku gin-spiked cocktails.

Address

8 St. Martin’s Place, Charing Cross, London, WC2N 4JH

restaurant

SMOKESTAK

Corr, this Shoreditch barbecue joint is something else. An industrial-chic setting with ample outside space out front (perfect for people watching those en route to Brick Lane) dishes out top-shelf cuts of wood-smoked meats to a laid-back creative crowd. Start with the cod's roe and naan - the only seafood you'll get here - before making your way through lamb sausage, pulled pork, charred pork-belly rib, beef brisket and dry-aged beef rib, all of which arrive grilled to perfection on piled-high slabs. Word to the wise - come in a big group so you can have a full-on feast and try as much of the menu as possible. If you find yourself defeated, friendly staff will happily pack it up for you to take home. Wash down with chilli margaritas and local craft beer. 10/10 from us.

Address

35 Sclater Street, London, E1 6LB

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